Should the founders of Web3 billionaires be allowed to conceal their identities under the guise of a pseudonym? The community has lashed out at Buzzfeed for publishing the true identity of the duo behind the BAYC NFT collection.
BAYC, a nonfungible token collection of the internet media and entertainment company Buzzfeed, has revealed the identities of two of the four original “Bored Ape Yacht Club” (BAYC) founders “Gordon Goner” and “Gargamel” as being Greg Solano and Wylie Aronow in real life.
Journalist Katie Notopoulos authored the Friday article, which was entitled “We Found The Real Names Of Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Pseudonymous Founders.”
Notopoulos was able to identify the company behind the collection by searching the publicly available records of the company, Yuga Labs. Yuga Labs was incorporated in Delaware with an address associated with Solano, while other records point to Aronow.
The tech reporter argued that “there are reasons why in the traditional business world, the CEO or founder of a company uses their real name and not a pseudonym,” adding that “the people behind BAYC are courting investors and running a business that is potentially worth billions.”
“How do you hold them accountable if you don’t know who they are?”
While executives of publicly traded companies must be named in United States Securities and Exchange Commission disclosures and reports, executives of smaller private companies are not required to use their real names in most cases.
“These laws are in part to prevent terrorists, criminals, or sanctioned nations from doing business in the US,” wrote Notopoulos.
The controversy surrounding the article has also drawn attention from the Web3 community, which is describing the article as “doxxing” rather than appropriate journalistic practice.
In a tweet on Saturday, crypto podcaster Cobie called the article “typical Buzzfeed trash,” saying that it was “doxxing people for clicks and ad revenue.” Meanwhile, venture capitalist Mike Solana wrote “there was absolutely no reason to dox these guys,” adding, “They’re literally cartoon apes.”
The founder of Messari, Ryan Selkis, was also clearly unhappy with the story, sharing a 2009 tweet by Notopoulos in which she used a homophobic slur.
As for Notopoulos, she seemed relatively unfazed by the backlash. She posted a screenshot of messages sent by someone threatening to make her personal information public, including her “location, place of work, parents’ home, and siblings’ addresses.”
Responding to the threat, she asked the person whether they were a “big strong guy” to which they replied, “no, I’m a degen.” She replied, “Ah bummer. They have a heavy dresser they need help moving to the garage.”
On Friday, Yuga Labs indicated that it was in talks with a top Silicon Valley VC firm that valued the collection at $5 billion.
Although the allegations against Solano and Aronow have been public knowledge for a while, the alleged connection to the QuadrigaCX scandal was not made public until recently. On Jan. 27, Cointelegraph published allegations that the true identity of decentralized finance protocol Wonderland co-founder, 0xSifu, also co-founded the now-defunct Canadian exchange QuadrigaCX.
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